To help offset challenges linked to daily adherence, HIV prevention scientists are actively developing and testing the efficacy of next generation PrEP formulations, including episodic oral PrEP (i.e., taken pericoitally), and products offering systemic protection (e.g., douche, implants), injectables administered monthly or less often, and vaccines. Diverse drug delivery mechanisms could offer choice based on YMSM’s sociocultural context, and facilitate uptake and adherence of products that are behaviorally congruent with their sexual practices. Thus, it is crucial that next generation biomedical prevention be designed so that they can be delivered via mechanisms that not only deliver enough drug to block HIV transmission, but are also a good behavioral fit with the drug’s intended end-users.
Achieving consistent and correct use among the product’s consumers will require researchers to develop products that are desirable and acceptable, both within the context of clinical trials and in the real world. However, YMSM’s recruitment in these next generation PrEP studies has been limited, particularly youth under 18 years. Thus, even if found to be efficacious, the absence of YMSM’s perspectives on product characteristics could lead to acceptability and adherence challenges once they become available as HIV prevention strategies.
This ATN protocol seeks to ensure the inclusion of adolescent and young adults’ (age 15-24 years) perspectives as next generation biomedical prevention are being developed through 1) content analysis of social media content, 2) cognitive interviews to improve measures of preference and acceptability, and 3) a web-based survey to examine acceptability of next generation biomedical prevention.